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Transitive reduction


H = transreduction(G)



H = transreduction(G) returns the transitive reduction of graph G as a new graph, H. The nodes in H are the same as those in G, but H has different edges. H contains the fewest number of edges such that if there is a path from node i to node j in G, then there is also a path from node i to node j in H.


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Create and plot a complete graph of order four.

G = digraph([1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4],[2 3 4 1 3 4 1 2 4 1 2 3]);

Find the transitive reduction and plot the resulting graph. Since the reachability in a complete graph is extensive, there are theoretically several possible transitive reductions, as any cycle through the four nodes is a candidate.

H = transreduction(G);

Two graphs with the same reachability also have the same transitive reduction. Therefore, any cycle of four nodes produces the same transitive reduction as H.

Create a directed graph that contains a different four node cycle: (1,3,4,2,1).

G1 = digraph([1 3 4 2],[3 4 2 1]);

Find the transitive reduction of G1. The cycle in G1 is reordered so that the transitive reductions H and H1 have the same cycle, (1,2,3,4,1).

H1 = transreduction(G1);

Create and plot a directed acyclic graph.

s = [1 1 1 1 2 3 3 4];
t = [2 3 4 5 4 4 5 5];
G = digraph(s,t);

Confirm that G does not contain any cycles.

tf = isdag(G)
tf = logical

Find the transitive reduction of the graph. Since the graph does not contain cycles, the transitive reduction is unique and is a subgraph of G.

H = transreduction(G);

Input Arguments

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Input graph, specified as a digraph object. Use digraph to create a directed graph object.

Example: G = digraph([1 2],[2 3])

Output Arguments

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Transitive reduction of G, returned as a digraph object. The table G.Nodes is copied to H, but any properties in G.Edges are dropped. H might contain new edges not present in G.

H contains the fewest number of edges that still preserve the reachability of graph G. In other words, transclosure(H) is the same as transclosure(G).

If isdag(G) is true, then H is unique and is a subgraph of G.

More About

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Transitive Reduction

The transitive reduction of graph G is the graph with the fewest edges that still shares the same reachability as G. Therefore, of all the graphs that have the same transitive closure as G, the transitive reduction is the one with the fewest edges. If two directed graphs have the same transitive closure, they also have the same transitive reduction.

Introduced in R2015b